English: Issues in Modern Culture MA

This MA programme introduces students to major works of nineteenth- and twentieth-century British, French and American writers and provides a context for those works in philosophical and technological developments of the period. The programme explores a wide range of genres and authors and encourages the development of independent research skills.

Mode of study

  • Full-time 1 year
  • Part-time 2 years

Tuition fees

  • UK/EU Full-time: £8,500
  • UK/EU Part-time: £4,250
  • Overseas Full-time: £16,750
  • Overseas Part-time: £8,500

Application date

  • All applicants: 1 March 2014
  • Scholarship applicants: 1 February 2014

More details in Application section.

What will I learn?

The core course develops a close reading of works by writers of the period, while the optional courses offer the opportunity to analyse some of the technologies, media, philosophical perspectives and art-forms whose development during the twentieth century has made itself felt in modernist and postmodernist writing.

Why should I study this degree at UCL?

The UCL English Department has an outstanding record for research; many staff publish in mainstream as well as academic media: some are regular reviewers for newspapers and periodicals.

Excellent facilities are provided by UCL's library. It has several important holdings including the James Joyce Collection and the George Orwell Archive.

Our graduate students have access to an incomparable range of archives and libraries, including Senate House Library and the British Library, both of which are nearby.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of one core module (60 credits), three optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).

Core Modules

  • Authors


  • Contexts may include the following:
  • Baudelaire's Paris
  • Henry James's The American Scene
  • Detective Fiction
  • The Harlem Renaissance
  • Vertov and the Avant-Garde
  • Citizen Kane
  • Photography
  • Surrealism
  • 1960s Rock (Bob Dylan and the Velvet Underground)
  • Graphic Novels
  • Abstract Expressionism
  • Options – students may take two optional courses, which may include the following:
  • Modernism, Sex and Redemption
  • Film and Televison: Early Cinema to The Wire
  • Post-war American Poetry
  • James Joyce Among the Modernists
  • Ludic Literature
  • Urban Forms
  • American Counter-Culture


All MA students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 12,000 words.

Teaching and Learning

Each course is taught through a weekly seminar. Assessment is through take-home written examination, essays and the research dissertation.

Further details available on subject website:

Further information about funding and scholarships can be found on the Scholarships and funding website.

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard will normally be required.

International equivalencies

Select your country for equivalent alternative requirements

English language proficiency level: Good

How to apply

Applications should be made by 1 March 2014, or by 1 February 2014 for candidates who are also seeking funding through the Arts & Humanities Research Council and those seeking UCL funding.

Who can apply?

The programme is particularly suitable for graduates with a first degree in English, although applicants holding a degree in another subject will be considered. The programme gives students a thorough grounding in the skills needed for independent research, and is an ideal foundation for further academic study in this field.

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study English: Issues in Modern Culture at graduate level
  • why you want to study English: Issues in Modern Culture at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your academic and/or professional background meets the demands of a challenging academic environment
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.


The programme is an ideal preliminary stage to doctoral research and candidates who obtain the MA and have found a promising subject requiring further study are encouraged to apply to the UCL MPhil/PhD programme.

Top career destinations for this programme

  • Oxford Journals, Publications Assistant, 2011
  • King's Fund, Assistant Programme Manager, 2009
  • College of Technology, Lecturer, 2009
  • Oxford University Press, Administrative Assistant - Literature, 2009

Next steps


Mr James Phillips

T: +44 (0)20 7679 7122


English Language & Literature

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Staff View

"At the moment I am trying to gather together everything that I have ever known for the 18th century volume of the Oxford English Literary History."

Professor John Mullan

Head of Department

Staff View

"London offers unparalleled resources for all researchers and UCL is fortunate in being just round the corner from the British Library, British Museum and the Wellcome Trust."

Professor Bas Aarts

Professor of English Linguistics